Being a Christian Does Not Mean Being a Pacifist

Pacifism is a belief that all war and violence is wrong.  This message is not teaching that all war and violence is right nor promoting that you should become a violent, macho person.  Pacifists however can be bullies without using one fist while also not righteously and appropriately opposing evil themselves in many circumstances.  Pacifism is ultimately an attack on God-ordained law enforcement and an antichrist concept that enables all manner of oppression, bullying, and much sin overall.  All who promote it and/or logically put it into practice in their stances and choices are at enmity with Jesus Christ.

The Bible says Psalm 19:7-11: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.  The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.  The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” 

Jesus is the one who gave the Law to Moses, Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, and anyone who believes He’d ever speak contrary to the Law of Moses is a Marcionite.  A Marcionite is basically anyone who would put Jesus at odds with the God of the Old Testament and the words which God spoke in the Old Testament.  Marcion was a 2nd century AD heretic who taught that the God of the Old Testament and the Father of Jesus Christ are different gods (Marcion’s doctrine stated that the god of the Old Testament is a God of wrath, while the god of the New Testament is a god of love and mercy- Marcion basically taught that the God of the Old Testament was really the devil).  Marcionism is obviously a wicked and easily refuted heresy.  Yet Marcionism has crept into most churches today in several different ways.  One key example is that if you believe that God stopped being wrathful after Jesus came, or if you believe that God became less wrathful after Jesus came, then you have been greatly influenced by Marcionism.  This is a blatantly false concept, yet many sympathize with it and are influenced much by it.  And the idea that pacifism is actually a Christian concept also stems from Marcionite ideology.  When someone says something like “Jesus taught us to love our enemies; the Old Testament didn’t do that” they are echoing a Marcionite concept.  

Consider that the Old Testament did indeed teach people to love their enemies.  When Jesus taught love of enemies in the Gospel accounts, He was echoing what the Law of Moses already taught about that and elaborating on the manner in which that is appropriate in God’s eyes..

Exodus 23:4-5: “If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.  If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.”

Hear Jesus incarnate, in His public ministry in the Gospels, uphold the morality of the law given through Moses.

Matthew 5:17-18: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

Matthew 7:12: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

It was always right to do good to those who hate you, to bless them that curse you, and to pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.  And it was always right to bring criminals to justice, and it still is, whether they are your personal enemies or not.  It was always right to defend your home and your nation from intruders.  It is necessary to resist evil in that way according to your jurisdiction, in the given situation you are in, in order to be righteous.  It was also never right to go and search out your enemies to retaliate on a personal level.  It was never right to do anything to resist evil in terms of retaliation on a personal level (that would even include subtle insults or passive aggressive acts of cruelty).  

When Jesus was asked by a Mosaic lawyer how to love his neighbor as himself, Jesus pointed Him back to God’s Law (Luke 10:25-37).  The point of the story He told there about the Good Samaritan is that we can’t righteously pick and choose whom we love and do good to.  When we see someone in need that we have the ability to help, we must help them.  This lawyer thought Jews were worth his concern and potential assistance, but not gentiles, especially not Samaritans.  The passage from Exodus 23, and many other many Scriptures from the Hebrew Bible, prove that was not the case.  

There was this song back early in the decade of the 2000s about standing before Jesus and being overjoyed at His presence.  It became so popular that it even crossed over into great mainstream music popularity.  That popularity shows the deadly misconception that the professing Christian world, and the world as a whole, has about Jesus Christ.  They wrongly see him as this soft, all-loving figure who resembles a hippie and is a pacifist.  They don’t see Him as the utterly holy, uncompromising authority figure that He in truth is.  They see Him rather as an all-loving, humanistic figure whose primary purpose is to make man happy and blessed.  The false portrayal of Jesus as being an effeminate, hippie figure who’d never even hurt a fly goes hand in hand with this deadly misconception.  Mountains of Scripture have to be ignored for such a picture to be maintained.

Hebrews 1:8-9 says: “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.   Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity (i.e. lawlessness); therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

Jesus Himself told His disciples to carry swords when He was about to leave them.  He also didn’t just turn the other cheek when the officer in the Temple smote Him.  He reproved the officer for righteousness’ sake over the injustice of smiting Him, though He didn’t seek to harm him apart from the due process of law (which didn’t happen there, but it surely will happen in God’s courtroom on Judgment Day, if it didn’t already also happen in some measure through judgment later in the officer’s life).  

And consider Jesus cleansing the Temple.  He used physical force to do that.  To anyone who had been partaking in the selling, buying, or money-changing in the Temple; and even to anyone who was not already mourning over that and doing what they could to stand against that, Jesus cleansing the Temple would have been a horrible, horrible sight!  The Temple was the one place on earth where Jesus had jurisdiction at His first coming, since of course the Temple was His Father’s house.  Of course, He still owned everything then, yet He assumed limitations in His manhood (without setting aside His divinity), related to how Philippians chapter 2 talks about Him coming as a man to serve and to die.  When He comes back in glory to exercise His power and authority as the Judge of all mankind, it will be the Temple cleansing times one billion; and it will be for the ultimate destruction of His enemies.  He will prove then to the fullest that He is not mocked; and that those who persist in their resistance to His righteous reign are fools who imagined a mischievous device which they are not able to perform.  He will then demonstrate to the fullest the utterly evil and foolish nature of being His enemy by casting down His enemies in a show of terror which no man will be able to stand before.

We see in the New Testament, in Romans chapter 13:1-7, that God has still ordained human governments (inevitably composed of mortal men, by the way) to carry out His principles of justice on earth.  And God has ordained the death penalty for certain crimes which He deems the best remedy for to involve the death of the perpetrator.  You cannot even be a faithful Christian if you do not agree with this nor if you obstruct such justice knowingly in any way.  And this is all consistent with, and even obviously a necessary component of, our duty of love towards all men, as is then evidenced by reading on through Romans chapter 13.  And in the verses leading up to Romans chapter 13, the Christians are instructed to love their enemies on a personal level (obviously not eliminating their right to defend themselves, not eliminating their duty to stand against criminal action, and not saying they shouldn’t report crime to judicial authorities, as Romans 13 would go on to prove).  And where does this instruction about love of enemies originate from?  The Old Testament.  Romans 12:17-21 contains a quote from Proverbs.  

Romans 12:17-21: “Recompense to no man evil for evil.  Provide things honest in the sight of all men.  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written (in the Old Testament Book of Proverbs), Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

It is an eternal principle that righteousness before the true God means recognizing the distinction between things like right judicial action and protection of the oppressed from oppressors versus things like personal revenge and taking the law into one’s own hands.  This is why it was right for David to kill Goliath (an enemy invader to his nation) but to spare King Saul (King Saul was the authority in Israel).  That is also why King Saul was wrong to not kill the Amalekites upon being deputized by God to take vengeance upon them for their wickedness (the phrase “to obey is better than sacrifice”, spoken in 1 Samuel chapter 15, was said in context by Samuel to Saul as a rebuke to him over his sin and failure here); and why King Saul was also wrong to try to kill David out of jealousy shortly afterwards.  This distinction is also why Moses had stonings performed under his authority of blatant malignant rebels (which God had prescribed) yet prayed for Miriam and Aaron when they spoke against his own person.  This distinction is also why Jesus as a man did good to His enemies, prayed for them, and even died to make a way for them to repent and be forgiven; yet as the Judge of mankind He will still condemn His unrepentant enemies to the eternal fire of hell on Judgment Day.  

Properly understanding the difference between man avenging evil according to his proper jurisdiction compared to self-appointed vengeance is truly a big deal.  Consider here those who use Jesus’ command to love your enemies as a pretext for fighting against the death penalty and for promoting and enabling illegal immigration.  These are just as bad as those who don’t follow Jesus’ words about loving your enemies where it is proper to apply them.

It’s our duty to resist evil within God’s boundaries.  Certain circumstances make failure to resist evil to be complicity with evil.  If a homicidal maniac is on a rampage and you are able to use force to stop him, and you don’t, you are guilty!  Yet if someone is on trial for killing your loved one, you can’t go into the court and shoot him/her dead without sinning against God and incurring the just wrath of the Government.  If you walk into a public locker room or shower room and you see a man molesting a child and yell, yet the perpetrator still doesn’t stop, you must take action and use force to protect the child or you are guilty of complicity with the heinous act.  You will be in grave sin if you don’t stop it.  You should involve law enforcement too, but you must also intervene yourself in a serious, urgent situation like that since it will take the police at least a few minutes to get there (and consistent pacifists wouldn’t ever involve law enforcement in anything related to stopping crime and bringing criminals to justice since law enforcement is inherently contrary to pacifist ideology).  

Consider what the Law of God says Deuteronomy 22:25-27: “But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die.  But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbor, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.”

This is obviously implying that if someone hears her cry they are obligated to intervene and use force if necessary to deliver her.  Not doing all in your power to save those who are being attacked and need help is sin!

Proverbs 24:11-12: “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it?  and shall not he render to every man according to his works?” (Consider the guilt of those who promote abortion and/or those who vote for abortion supporting politicians here).

The very same chapter of Proverbs rebukes taking vengeance on one’s enemies of one’s own accord, proving further that the very things which Jesus taught in the Gospels about loving your enemies and not resisting evil on a personal level were already taught in the Old Testament.

Proverbs 24:28-29: “Be not a witness against thy neighbor without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.  Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.”

You see this all over the Bible.  If you are in the position to help someone that is being attacked and you don’t do what you are able to stop the attack, including the use of potentially deadly force (or calling on help which might use deadly force) if necessary, you are putting your very soul in danger of hellfire.  Judicial judgment is upheld in Christianity and our cooperation in protecting the victimized and keeping society safe from criminals is required.  You cannot be a faithful Christian and a pacifist at the same time.

Many try to use John 8:1-11, where a woman caught in adultery is brought to Jesus, to try to justify the common belief that Jesus does not condemn sinners, and/or to try to justify the common belief that any and all confrontation of sin, or opposition to sin, is equivalent to casting stones at people.  Such beliefs are twisted and inaccurate.  The context of this passage is that some of the Jews who are Jesus’ enemies are angry and jealous, but they are afraid to arrest Him because of their fear of the common people.  This is not an easy thing to do anyways since even the Temple’s own officers, whom some of the leaders had commanded to take Him, didn’t have the courage to do so.  They need a strong reason to arrest Him which the common people will be in agreement with and which the Temple officers will be compelled to comply with. Or perhaps, they might even cause Him to be arrested by the Romans.  They hatch a plot, not to put the Law of Moses on trial- that would be considered ridiculous.  Rather, the plot is to entrap Jesus and make Him look like a villain before either the Jews or the Romans who ruled over the Jews.  This plot would put Jesus into a tight place in which (they thought and hoped) He would either have to deny the Law of Moses (and directly get in trouble with the Jewish authorities) or say something which the Jews could accuse Him to the Romans over so He would be seen as a rebel against the Roman Empire.  This was an insincere trial.  These men are tempting Jesus and seeking to put Him on trial by how He handles this woman which they have brought to Him.  We see all over the Gospels that Jesus’ enemies are unjust men, who despite their professed zeal for the Law of Moses, were out of line with the Law of Moses.  That is what made them hypocrites.  They sought to abuse the Law to condemn Jesus, when the Law really testified against them and their unjust behavior.  

 The Judicial aspects of the Law of Moses were given to be executed under the oversight of Israel’s judges.  They were not things which people were to just independently carry out on their own.  We also know from the Gospels, and from history in general, that the Romans recognized Judaism as a religion and basically allowed the Jews to practice their religion and follow their Law.  But one key exception, and we see it by how the Jewish leaders delivered Jesus to the Romans when they eventually did wind up arresting Him, is that the Jews did not have the legal power to execute the death penalty.  That was something which the Romans had to condemn someone to in order for it legally happen under their rule.  The basic plot of those tempting Jesus is to either get Him to say that she should be stoned so they can deliver Him to the Romans as a rebel to their Empire or to get Him to say she shouldn’t be stoned to legitimize His arrest by the Jewish authorities, with the charge that He was speaking contrary to the Law of Moses.  This is really nothing but an attempt to trap Jesus in His words and to make Him out to be a criminal.  Jesus’ handling of this matter then is not a pronouncement on whether the Law of Moses’ prescribed punishment on adulterers is valid. 

The Law of Moses indeed commands that adulterers be stoned.  But it also commanded that there be multiple witnesses, impartial witnesses, who initiate the stoning after the accused is found guilty.  And it commands that all the parties involved in the adultery be stoned, not just one of them.

Leviticus 20:10: “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” 

Deuteronomy 22:22: “If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”

So obviously there was sin in this matter among each and every one of these accusers.  Otherwise, they would have brought the man to be stoned too.  And since this was a set-up, and since they obviously didn’t care to faithfully carry out the law, it is quite possible that they had a married man offer this woman, possibly a very poor woman, a very large sum of money for her service so they could catch her in adultery and bring her to Jesus.  There may very well have been enticement to sin here too, something which God’s Law rebukes and forbids too.  There was very likely at least some type of entrapment here and there was surely partiality here.  And partiality in the Law, and the respect of persons which is inherent in such partiality, is something which God also warned against and rebuked Israel severely for when they practiced it.  And though we don’t know for sure what Jesus wrote on the ground as this woman was accused before Him, we know that the consciences of these men were convicted, and they backed out of their scheme.  It is quite possible then when Jesus wrote on the ground here, He wrote verses from the Law and the Prophets which rebuked things such as partiality in the Law and respect of persons; and perhaps He even wrote Leviticus 20:10 or Deuteronomy 22:22 about how both the man and the woman who were caught committing adultery ought to be stoned.  We know for sure that in everything Jesus said and did that He would have been in agreement with the Law of Moses to faithfully uphold it.  

Psalm 119:142: “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.”

1 John 3:4-5: Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”

So, when Jesus said in John 8:7 “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”, He would have been speaking against the Law of Moses if He meant that its verdict about stoning was wrong or at least impossible to carry out without sin on the part of those who did so.  Saying such a thing would have actually provided an occasion for His enemies to accuse Him (like they were looking for) if that is what He meant.  But obviously He meant that those who were without sin in this matter should be the ones to cast the first stones at her.  This was speaking in accordance with the Law of Moses and clearing Himself of any wrongdoing before both the Jews and the Romans.  If these witnesses were so zealous to carry out the Law of Moses’ verdict about stoning adulterers (which they were pretending to be but weren’t) they should risk the wrath of the Romans in doing so.  And if they are partial (and hence false) witnesses (like they were indeed), then they would be violating the Law of Moses by carrying out the stoning.  

Pacifism also is evil and antichrist in its general opposition to the death penalty.  Such opposition blatantly challenges and seeks to contradict God’s own verdict which He rendered in Genesis 9:6: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

Anyone who comes against this verdict is like the serpent tempting Eve by saying “Yea, hath God said?”

We see in the context of this verse in reading Genesis chapter nine that human life is especially precious because man is made in God’s image.  We also see that to take a life at one’s own accord is murder.  And we see as well that to kill the one justly convicted of murder is not murder.  Not all killings are murder then.  When a person is convicted of a crime worthy of death, like murder, through a fair trial under an impartial jury, it is not murder to then kill them.  Killings resulting from a righteous judicial process, and the killings of those who are evidently in the process of doing harm to others which cannot be stopped except through potentially deadly force, are not murder.  In the Ten Commandments when God says “Thou shalt not kill”, it is a reference to murder (look at what God already established in Genesis 9:6).  Since all life belongs to God, and since God is totally just and righteous, God cannot unjustly take away life by killing someone (like when He brought the flood in Noah’s time and when He overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah) or by commanding someone to be killed on terms He has laid out regarding execution. You cannot be a faithful Christian if you do not agree with this nor if you obstruct such justice knowingly in any way.  And this is all consistent with, and even obviously a necessary component of, our duty of love towards all men.

The case of the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11 actually teaches then that we should not be partial in God’s Law, not act contrary to it, not use it to falsely accuse Jesus, and that any attempt which man may make to twist the Law of God to make Jesus sound inconsistent, or to seem in any way at enmity with God’s Law, will be cast down and proven foolish (and that means pacifists are in big trouble).

Again then, pacifism is “the belief that any violence, including war, is unjustifiable under any circumstances, and that all disputes should be settled by peaceful means.”  Here are some points to help encapsulate the evil of this belief and its practical implementation in one’s stances and choices.

– Pacifism promotes idolatry.  The false “hippie Jesus” which many believe in is intrinsically linked to the lie that Jesus was a pacifist.

– Pacifism vilifies God’s own judgments that He gave through Moses as He gave laws dealing with promoting and maintaining a pure, just, and orderly society- including the basic principle that the death penalty is to be administered by man to murderers (Genesis 9:6).

– Pacifism separates and distinguishes Jesus from the God of the Old Testament.  If Jesus taught pacifism as the pacifist alleges, then who gave the Law through Moses?  If the pacifist is right and also stays consistent, it could not have been Jesus.  (And that would mean most of the Bible should not be heeded!)

– And if the pacifist is right that Jesus taught pacifism, then Jesus was a false prophet whom the Jews were right to seek to stone for leading them away from the Law of God (see Isaiah 8:20).  Jesus would also then be an inconsistent hypocrite since He also taught the people to keep the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:12, Matthew 23:1-3, etc).

– The idea that Jesus taught pacifism would also make Jesus a hypocrite and a sinner in that He used force in driving men and animals out of the temple (John 2:14-17 makes this absolutely clear).

– And if Pacifism is true, then the Apostles were either hypocrites or terribly confused since they baptized soldiers and jailers who bore the sword in serving the State (Acts chapters 10 and 16).  The Apostle Paul also made use of the armed protection of the Roman army in Acts chapter 23.  And if the Apostles were hypocrites or terribly confused, then the New Testament also, which the Apostles were involved in writing the entirety of, is totally unreliable and therefore not the Word of God (including the four Gospels- the Apostles were involved in writing those too).  If pacifism were true then, it would nullify everything in the Bible. 

– Pacifism attacks God-ordained law enforcement as incompatible with Jesus’ kingdom.  This is ultimately an attack on God’s authority (Romans 13:1-7).

– Pacifism justifies convicted criminals.  The consistent pacifist must say their apprehension and sentence should not have happened, and would not have happened, had those who brought them to justice been faithful Christians.

– Pacifism also endangers the innocent.  Would you want the only person in a position to help you if you were violently attacked to be a pacifist who didn’t believe it was morally right to harm your attacker or use force against him in any way?

– Pacifism implicitly teaches the antichrist view of mankind, that man is basically good, and that peace can always be attained through things like conversation and mutual understanding.  The judgment the Scriptures give of sinners and the world in general is denied.  No wonder pacifism also is common among Universalists, New-Agers, and others which affirm the inherent goodness of the human race in contrast to God’s declaration in the Scriptures.

And if Jesus is a pacifist God, there would be no need to seek peace with Him.  Yet absolutely nothing could be further from the truth than that!

Revelation 19:11-16: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.”

Psalm 1: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.  The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

Aaron’s email is: [email protected]

For another pacifism study, click here.